The end does not appear to be nigh as the Mayans would have it. And what a relief. But Tim Tebow's career (if it could be called that) with the New York Jets is evidently over. After the Jets starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez, played miserably Monday night in a loss that eliminated any hope the Jets had of making the playoffs, Jets'head coach Rex Ryan announced that he would be starting Greg McElroy in this weekend's game against San Diego. Tebow would stay on the bench, where had had spent most of the season, in spite of the fact that he was, notionally, the backup quarterback and McElroy the third stringer. The Jets let it be known that they will shop Tebow after the season.
Tebow to the Jets always had a faint scent of cynicism about it. It was a kind of stunt, aimed to gin up media interest and what they call ... buzz. It had a narrative, don't you know. The choirboy comes to Gomorrah. There was a football argument for the move but it was tepid stuff. Sanchez was still the franchise quarterback, according to the party line, and Tebow, with his running and improvisational skills would come in, now and then, to "add another dimension." What the presence of Tebow seems to have added for the most part was pressure on the psyche of Sanchez who went from being an improving young quarterback to a head case and a turnover machine.
Fans wondered, "Why not put Tebow in and see what he can do?" The man may not be pure in what the football gurus call "mechanics," but he had this way of winning games with his previous team, the Denver Broncos who let Tebow go when they acquired Peyton Manning. None will ever compare Tebow's skills to Manning's. That would be cruel. Still ... Tebow had taken the Bronco's to the playoffs last year and done it mostly on grit. Which can thrill a certain kind of fan even more than perfect mechanics. So with the season over and Sanchez on the bench, why not put the kid in and see, once and for all, what he could do when he started and played an entire game.
No, Coach Ryan said. He was going with McElroy because he gave the team the best chance to win. McElroy is nobody's idea of the next Peyton Manning but, like Tebow, he does know something about winning. He was 24-3 as a starter at Alabama and his signature win there came in the 2009 SEC championship game when Alabama played heavily favored Florida whose quarterback was ... Tim Tebow. Alabama won 32-13 and late in the game, cameras focused on Tebow on the bench, weeping.
With the Jets experiment ending in failure, he may get another shot with another team. Meanwhile, perhaps McElroy can win with the Jets and get them back to the Super Bowl where they have not been since another Alabama quarterback took them there in 1969. But, then, Broadway Joe Namath was as natural a fit with New York as Tim Tebow is out of place there.